The world now has three years to achieve the eight Millennium Development Goals. The first goal is to halve poverty and extreme hunger. It is a huge challenge when 1.4 billion people estimated to be living in extreme poverty and 900 million people are chronically malnourished. For these goals to be achieved it requires major efforts to develop agriculture, especially small-scale agriculture in the poorest countries and to ensure food security in the South.
One of the major threats to the development of agriculture and food security in the south is the so-called land grabbing, which means an unjust trading of agricultural land. Land grabbing is a growing problem, especially in Africa. When companies and individual countries with the help of foreign capital lay in the large areas of land depriving poor farmers their land and thus their livelihoods. Among other things, Professor Ernest Aryettey at the University of Ghana has linked land grabbing with the rapidly increasing land prices in parts of Africa and the very sharp increases in food prices in 2007 and 2008. Land grabbing also means that natural resources are put under heavy pressure. When small-scale farming of food crops, food crops, replaced by large-scale agriculture of export products, so-called cash crops, and bioenergy production, often increase such as the consumption of water significantly.
A summary of research on the subject, carried out by researchers at Lund University, shows that land grabbing is "deeply problematic from the perspective of local people." One explanation for this is the uneven power relationship between the companies and small farmers. Kajsa Johansson, head of development and policy at SCC in a text at the Nordic Africa Institute forums says:
''Donors, including Sweden, are constantly Bringing up the issue of corruption and weak institutions in the General Debate on aid. Weak governance and corruption Severe ice, for example, a reason why Sweden cut financial support to some countries.
But When it comes to the implementation of laws related to land tenure rights, the optimism with Regard to institution in the same countries, seems endless. This implies That the Challenge to guarantee the local populations' right to land and That They are not being dispossessed of land, ice Underestimated by donors In Their eagerness to the promote investments.''
Unfortunately, there are many examples of how even Swedish actors contributed to land grabbing. Examples include bio-energy projects Addax Bioenergy in Sierra Leone, Buchanan Renewables Fuel in Liberia and Bagamoyo EcoEnergy in Tanzania. In the first case, the Swedish aid funds channeled through Swedfund and in the last case, Sida has received an application for credit. Criticism has also been leveled at the Second AP Fund that helped land grabbing through its investments. Other examples are the Diocese of VÃ¤sterÃ¥s, who conducted extensive investments in the company Chikweti Forests pine growing in Mozambique, an activity that is then heavily criticized.
In light of the foregoing, I would ask the Government:
What steps does the Government take to Swedish development cooperation should not contribute to land grabbing?
What steps does the Government take to clarify Swedfund owner directives so that the company continues to make investments that contribute to land grabbing?
What international initiatives does the Government take to prevent land grabbing threatens food security?